City now shoring up parks with facilities

SAN BENITO — It’s going to be a skate pad instead of a skatepark for now.

Last night, city commissioners approved the building of skate pad to be part of phase one of an new skatepark.

The idea of a new skateboard park has been a topic in the community and among city officials for several years.

Mayor Celeste Sanchez has said from the very start she had hoped it could be built by summer. However, city officials failed to reach any type of decision last month, prolonging that hope.

Now, they are finally moving forward. Even if it is slowly.

The skate pad will be located at Stookey Park adjacent to the old, troubled pool.

Parks and Recreation Director Art Garza said about $24,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds has been allocated to pay for new equipment and repair existing equipment as needed.

“The skating community needs a place where they can go and use their skateboards,” he said.

The skate pad measuring 80-feet by 30-feet will hopefully be installed by May.

“The work that can be done will be done in house,” Garza said. “We will also continue to find funding for the future skatepark.”

Meanwhile, Garza said they will still be looking into building a skatepark in that location.

City commissioners were pleased with the decision, but did assure the public this was only phase one of a bigger and better skatepark.

Commissioners also discussed the pool, briefly.

In a previous meeting, after a long discussion, commissioners collectively agreed that a skate park could be built on the existing pool site and a new pool could be built on the adjacent property using the old pool’s facilities.

After last night, City Manager Manuel De La Rosa said a skate park could not be built on the old pool and a newer pool would have to be constructed.

Based on the core samples from engineers, De La Rosa said the pool is officially un-usable for the skatepark.

“The old pool cannot be used as a skate park or a new pool in its present condition,” he said.

Commissioners will discuss further plans on the pool at a later meeting.